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E-ZPass Threatens to Suspend Motorist Registrations
Toll road operators are getting tough, threatening to suspend the car registrations of motorists who have already paid their tolls.

E-ZPass MarylandE-ZPass and the Maryland Transportation Authority (MTA) are threatening to suspend the automobile registration of a Virginia motorist claiming that he has not paid $7 worth of tolls, despite evidence that he has, in fact, paid.

In July, the accused Arlington resident, who asked to remain anonymous, drove through two toll plazas on Interstate 95 in Maryland. At the time, he noticed that the toll booths failed to acknowledge his E-ZPass transponder, but he continued on his journey regardless. About two months later, he received a bill in the mail for $7 and immediately sent a check for that amount.

Bank records confirm that E-ZPass cashed the check on October 13, but that hasn't been the end of his problems.

On August 28, E-ZPass and MTA had sent a second letter threatening to suspend his automobile registration and levy an additional $100 if he didn't send another check, this time for $37. As of today, E-ZPass officials continue to tell the motorist that he has not paid and will not release his account until he proves that he has paid. The request for a written review of his case offers no option to report an erroneous citation.

"They will suspend my license over $7 that I already paid," the motorist said in an interview with TheNewspaper. "They want proof from me that they cashed my check. The proof that I'm offering is that it's deposited in their bank account."

Problems with Maryland's system are mirrored on the west coast where the Bay Area Toll Authority's FasTrak system overcharged hundreds of motorists crossing the Bay Bridge between San Francisco and Oakland. The complicated toll system failed when ACS, the company operating the program, allowed laser scanning devices to become dirty.

PricewaterhouseCoopers recently documented major accounting problems with the bay area program, suggesting there is no effective system in place to discover when toll booth operators are pocketing tolls.

View full copies of the E-ZPass tickets at issue in the source link below (160k PDF format)

Source: E-ZPass Violation Notices (Maryland Transportation Authority, 10/27/2005)

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